When I was at student at the Australian National University (ANU), there was one thing that could always be relied upon. Every year, the fluff would fall. It would fall from the trees and be EVERYWHERE! It was never a good time for allergy sufferers who used to pay dearly when the fluff fell in the form of watering eyes, stuffy noses and lots of sneezing. However, apart from the effect the fluff falling had on allergy sufferers, it used to also instil fear in every student at ANU.
The fear was not due to any toxic properties of the fluff, but rather due to a saying that everyone student lived by: If you don’t know your stuff by the time the fluff is falling- you’re stuffed!
This meant if you had been taking it easy during the academic year and hadn’t put your foot on the accelerator to get your studies sorted by the time the fluff started falling, you were doomed. Many a student gave up when they realised how far behind they were when the fluff started falling and simply started partying like the year was over (generally speaking too much partying was why they were in this predicament in the first place!). Others would study day and night in the hope that they could defy the odds. Those who had their studies under control would simply acknowledge that they were one step closer to exams and summer holidays.
It has been a long time since I studied at ANU, but when out walking this evening I came across fallen fluff. For a split second I felt the fear rise before I realised I am not a student and therefore have nothing to fear from the fluff. For me now, it can simply be a botanical phenomenon that occurs every year. However, I think a little bit of me will always be just that little bit concerned for a split second every year whenever I see that the fluff is falling.